The Time Has Come

 

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “to talk of many things.
Of cloture votes— and civil rights— and Martin Luther Kings.”

~ Lewis Carroll, “The Walrus and the Carpenter”

 

“The Walrus and the Carpenter” was in my seventh-grade literature book. I fell in love with it included it in my poetry notebook, written in ink with a then-newfangled cartridge pen. It took a lot of cartridges to copy it perfectly. I  drew an illustration from the book  on the front cover. I also memorized it.

President Lyndon B. Johnson by Arnold Newman WHPO. Public domain. via Wikipedia.

About a year later, I was delighted to find the political cartoon in a newspaper—the San Antonio Express-News or the Austin American Statesman, whichever was delivering to my house fifty or sixty miles away. I cut it out and pinned it on my wall with pictures of my cow. Today it surfaced.

For those too young to recognize them, the Carpenter represents President Lyndon B. Johnson. The Walrus represents Everett Dirksen, Senate Minority Leader, who helped write the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968. Both Dirksen and the Walrus had exceedingly curly hair.

Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (center) by Warren Leffler. Public domain. via Wikipedia.

Not long after finding the cartoon, I learned that a cousin who visited every summer had memorized the poem, too. For three consecutive years, while waiting for her plane back to Los Angeles to board, we walked up and down the concourse of the San Antonio International Airport reciting “The Walrus and the Carpenter” in unison. We had plenty of time, because Continental was usually two to three hours late. The airport didn’t see much traffic in those days and the concourse was practically empty, so only a few travelers looked at us funny.

The entire poem appears at Poets.org https://poets.org/poem/walrus-and-carpenter

Below is a link to a dramatic reading by Roy McCready on Youtube.

 

 

 

#AtoZChallenge Day C: Contrariwise

I believe I’ve fallen behind.

My Day B (April 2) post went online about five minutes before Day C started in my time zone. Now, less than four hours before Day D begins, I’m just starting on Day C.

Technically, I’m okay–observing the letter of the law (take some time to chuckle over that before reading on) but giving the spirit short shrift.

I haven’t observed a few other guidelines, either. I was supposed to–or maybe just invited to–choose a theme and reveal it here last month. But I couldn’t settle on anything, so I skipped that step.

It’s a shame, because I had a pretty good idea: Contrariwise. In the first place, I love the word. It reminds me of the first time I saw it in print, Alice’s meeting with Tweedledum and Tweedledee:

They stood so still that she quite forgot they were alive, and she was just looking round to see if the word “TWEEDLE” was written at the back of each collar, when she was startled by a voice coming from the one marked `DUM.’

`If you think we’re wax-works,’ he said, `you ought to pay, you know. Wax-works weren’t made to be looked at for nothing, Nohow!’

`Contrariwise,’ added the one marked `DEE,’ `if you think we’re alive, you ought to speak.’

`I’m sure I’m very sorry,’ was all Alice could say . . .

`I know what you’re thinking about,’ said Tweedledum: `but it isn’t so, nohow.’

`Contrariwise,’ continued Tweedledee, `if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.’

I was seven years old, lying on the back seat of my Uncle Joe and Aunt Laura’s new car, on the way home to Del Rio after a week-long visit with family in Fentress, and reading Alice in Wonderland, when all of a sudden, my stomach revolted. We stopped at the next service station so they could hose me down. My grandfather, who occupied the other half of the back seat, somehow managed to stay out of the line of fire. Aunt Laura said, “I told you lying down to read would make you carsick.” But it never had, and it hasn’t since, so I think other forces must have been at work.

Anyway, I’ve loved contrariwise ever since. Go figure.

I learned the base word, contrary, long before Alice. My great-aunt Ethel used it to describe her mare, Lady. It was an apt term. That horse personified the expression, “Beauty is only skin deep.”

She never unseated anyone; she simply refused to cooperate: hard to catch (she could walk faster than I); hard to bridle (she was taller than I); hard to saddle (she found the nearest pecan tree, leaned against it, and walked ’round and ’round while I followed, holding the saddle shoulder high and trying to heave it across a moving target.

Once saddled, she gave up being a moving target and became a stationary one. If I wanted to go one way and she wanted to go another, she didn’t insist on her way. She just stopped. And stood. And stood. And stood.

When I was four or five years old, my father let me ride her around in the little fenced enclosure where we kept chickens while he worked. Every time we neared the gate, she stopped. I would holler for my dad. He would come, say, “I told you not to let her get near the gate,” and lead her past. We would make another circuit. She would stop. I would holler for my dad. He would come, say, “I told you not to let her get near the gate,” and lead her  . . . You get the idea.

So there it was. Contrary Lady. Contrary Kathy.

Oh, darn. It’s nearly midnight. Day D.

Contrariwise.

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To read what other bloggers in the Blogging A to Z Challenge wrote on Day C, click AtoZ.

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Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.